Amos Yadlin with committee chairman, MK Tzachi Hanegbi
Photo: Haim Zach
Israeli deterrence has been reinstated since the Second Lebanon War, Military Intelligence chief, Major-General Amos Yadlin, told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday.
"This is affecting the entire region, including Iran and Syria," he said.
A large part of the intelligence briefing was devoted to the Iranian issue. According to Yadlin, "Senior Iranian officials are openly saying for the first time that the nuclear plan has strategic and military significance."
Senior officials in Tehran, Yadlin said, are including their country in the list of other nuclear countries "as if they are part of the club".
For example, Yadlin quoted Ali Larijani, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, as saying "that Iran had enough centrifuges to create a bomb, but that a bomb was not so important to the Iranians now since America could destroy Iran".
The bottom line, according to the MI head, is that "there is apparently no basic plan to change the goal of the Iranian nuclear project. But they are beginning to openly discuss the issue.
"The Iranians have a number of messages to the world," Yadlin continued. "One, we are part of the club of those who can create nukes. Two, the sanctions will not stop our plan, and we are carrying on. Three, the price of a conflict with us will be very high. We have means of deterrence, including military ones, and means of terror."
The intelligence chief said that the International Atomic Energy Agency "has said its piece and has transferred the case back to the Security Council."
According to Yadlin, "The Iranians want to bring the issue back to the agency, because if that happens, Tehran could control the timetables. It will be able to provide partial answers and delay the processes."
The sanctions implemented "are not necessarily because of a Security Council decision, but are countries' initiatives. These are mainly economic sanctions. Nonetheless, they don't really affect Iran," he said.
And what do Iranian citizens have to say about this? "The Iranian people support the nuclear policy. Their only criticism is against (Iranian President Mahmmoud) Ahmadinejad's economic policy," Yadlin concluded.